Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth. After five years in exile his presence is required at the funeral of patriarch Joe Murston, and even though the last time Stu saw the Murstons he was running for his life, staying away might be even more dangerous than turning up. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with it’s five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than seafog, gangsters, cheap drugs and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides. And although there’s supposed to be a temporary truce between Stewart and the town’s biggest crime family, it’s soon clear that only Stewart is taking this promise of peace seriously. Before long a quick drop into the cold grey Stoun begins to look like the soft option, and as he steps back into the minefield of his past to confront his guilt and all that it has lost him, Stu uncovers ever darker stories, and his homecoming takes a more lethal turn than even he had anticipated. Tough, funny, fast-paced and touching, Stonemouth cracks open adolescence, love, brotherhood and vengeance in a rite of passage novel like no other.
Ian Rankin - The Flood
Mary Miller had always been an outcast. As a child, fell into the hot burn - a torrent of warm chemical run-off from the local coal mine - and her hair turned white. Initially she was treated with sympathy, but all that changed a few days later when the young man who pushed her in died in an accident. Now, many years later, Mary is a single mother caught up in a faltering affair. Her son, Sandy, has fallen in love with a strange homeless girl - and both mother and son are forced to come to terms with a dark secret from Mary's past.
Alexander McCall Smith - Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
In this second novel in the Sunday Philosophy Club, Isabel Dalhousie’s niece, Cat (she of the unsuitable boyfriends) is invited to a wedding in Italy. This means that Isabel is left in charge of Cat’s delicatessen – a task to which the redoutable moral philosopher proves more than equal. She is intrigued by the customers, of course, given her irrepressible tendency to take an interest in the business of others, and one man in particular attracts her attention. He is recovering from heart surgery – a heart transplant in fact – and when Isabel gets to know him a bit better he reveals an extraordinary aspect of being the recipient of another’s heart. Isabel is drawn into an investigation of the facts behind the transplant, with disturbing results. Her enquiries take time, but not so much time as to prevent romantic entanglements, both for Isabel and her housekeeper, Grace. And as for chocolate – that proves to have some very interesting philosophical ramifications – at least in the mind of Isabel Dalhousie. Chocolate is a moral problem, it transpires – invoking questions of temptation and, of course, human weakness. We are all weak when it comes to chocolate, Isabel decides – should we just accept the fact and get on with it?
Terry Pratchett - The Truth
William just wants to get at the truth. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William, and it's only the third edition... William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld's first newspaper. Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist's life - people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.
Terry Pratchett - The Last Continent
There's nothing like the issue of evolution to get under the skin of academics. Especially when those same academics are by chance or bad judgement deposited at a critical evolutionary turning point when one wrong move could have catastrophic results for the future. Unfortunately in the hands of such an inept and cussed group of individuals, the sensitive issue of causality is sadly only likely to receive the same scant respect that they show to one another...
Terry Pratchett - Carpe Jugulum (angol)
Mightily Oats has not picked a good time to be a priest. He thought he'd come to Lancre for a simple ceremony. Now he's caught up in a war between vampires and witches. There's Young Agnes, who is really in two minds about everything. Magrat, who is trying to combine witchcraft and nappies, Nanny Ogg... and Granny Weatherwax, who is big trouble. And the vampires are intelligent. They've got style and fancy waistcoats. They're out of the casket, and want a bite of the future. Mightily Oats knows he has a prayer, but he wishes he had an axe.
Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean At The End of the Lane is a novel about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator forty years ago when he was seven: the lodger stole the family's car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed -- within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac -- as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.
Terry Pratchett - Going Postal
Moist von Lipwig is a con artist... ..and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet. It's a tough decision. But he's got to see that the mail gets through, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers' Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer. Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too.
Irvine Welsh - Trainspotting (angol)
Mark Renton is a very sick young man, sick of heroin, sick of trying to get off it. Most of us, he's sick of himself, his friends and growing up in the AIDS/HIV capital of Europe. The nihilistic youth sees nothing ahead in the future: 'Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.' Trainspotting became an instant classic howl of rage, despair and style from the Scottish capital's forgotten streets that would be heard all over the world.
Terry Pratchett - A Hat Full of Sky
'Crivens!' A real witch never casually steps out of her body, leaving it empty. Eleven-year-old Tiffany does. And there's something just waiting for a handy body to take over. Something ancient and horrible, which can't die... Wise, witty and wonderful. A Hat Full of Sky is Terry Pratchett's second novel about Tiffany and the Wee Free Men - the rowdiest, toughest, smelliest bunch of fairies ever. They'll fight anything. And even they might not be enough to save Tiffany...
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter receives an ominous warning from a house-elf at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: if he returns to the school at the end of the summer, terrible things will happen. But return Harry must. His second year begins with a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Quidditch training and the intensification of old rivalries. Then the warning starts to ring true, as mysterious words are daubed on a wall, students are attacked and Ron's sister, Ginny, disappears. And so the search for Salazar Slytherin's heir begins, with the mystery pointing Harry to a clandestine chamber and a deadly creature at its heart...
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon’s house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him who’s parents have been killed in a ‘car crash’. He is bullied by them and his fat, spoilt cousin Dudley, and lives a very unremarkable life with only the odd hiccup (like his hair growing back overnight!) to cause him much to think about. That is until an owl turns up with a letter addressed to Harry and all hell breaks loose! He is literally rescued by a world where nothing is as it seems and magic lessons are the order of the day. Read and find out how Harry discovers his true heritage at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, the reason behind his parents mysterious death, who is out to kill him, and how he uncovers the most amazing secret of all time, the fabled Philosopher’s Stone! All this and muggles too. Now, what are they?? The Author: This is Jo’s first book and she has already written seven outlines for Harry’s further adventures at Hogwarts. She lives in Edinburgh.
Sarah Waters - Tipping the Velvet
This stunning and steamy debut chronicles the adventures of Nan King, a small-town girl at the turn of the century whose life takes a wild turn of its own when she follows a local music hall star to London… "Glorious…a sexy, sinewy sojourn of a young woman in turn-of-the-century England."–The Boston Globe "Erotic and absorbing…If lesbian fiction is to reach a wider readership, Waters is the person to carry the banner."–The New York Times Book Review "Wonderful…a sensual experience that leaves the reader marveling at the author's craftsmanship, idiosyncrasy and sheer effort."–The San Francisco Chronicle "Amazing….This is the lesbian novel we've all been waiting for."–Salon.com "Compelling…Readers of all sexes and orientations should identify with this gutsy hero as she learns who she is and how to love."–Newsday "Echoes of Tom Jones, Great Expectations…Waters's debut offers terrific entertainment: pulsating with highly charged (and explicitly presented) erotic heat."–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Irvine Welsh - Marabou Stork Nightmares
Roy Strang is engaged is a strange quest in a surrealist South Africa. His mission is to eradicate the evil predator-scavenger bird, the marabou stork, before it drives away the peace-loving flamingo from the picturesque Lake Torto. But behind this world lies another: the world of Roy's bizarre family, the Scottish housing scheme in which he grew up, his mundane job, a disastrous emigration to Aftrica, and his youthful life of brutality with a gang of soccer casuals. As one world crashes into the other, this potentially charming story of ornithological goodwill mutates into a filthy tale of violence, abuse and redemption.
Iain Pears - The Bernini Bust
British art historian Jonathan Argyll has just sold a minor Titian to an American museum for a highly inflated price. But as he complacently awaits his cheque in the Californian sunshine, trouble erupts: the museum's billionaire owner is murdered, a dubious art dealer disappears, and a Bernini bust, apparently smuggled out of Italy, is missing. Things could hardly be worse, and the situation calls for assistance from his friends General Bottando and Flavia di Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad, especially as things do get worse - the killer's attention turns to Jonathan himself. Cleverly mixing murder with art, _The Bernini Bust_ is a witty and intriguing mystery from the bestselling author of _An Instance of the Fingerpost._
Iain Banks - The Wasp Factory
Frank, no ordinary sixteen-year-old, lives with his father outsIde a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank's mother abandoned them years ago: his elder brother Eric is confined to a psychiatric hospital; and his father measures out his eccentricities on an imperial scale. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace. But when news comes of Eric's escape from the hospital Frank has to prepare the ground for his brother's inevitable return - an event that explodes the mysteries of the past and changes Frank utterly. Iain Banks' celebrated first novel is a work of extraordinary originality, imagination and horrifying compulsion: horrifying, because it enters a mind whose realities are not our own, whose values of life and death are alien to our society; and compulsive, because the humour and compassion of that mind reach out to us all.
Gail Carriger - Heartless
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant. Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?
Ian Rankin - The Hanging Garden
Detective Inspector Rebus is buried under a pile of paperwork generated by his investigations into a suspected war criminal. But an escalating dispute between the upstart Tommy Telford and Big Ger Cafferty's gang gives Rebus an escape clause. Telford is known to have close links with a Newcastle gangster nicknamed Mr Pink Eyes - a Chechen bringing refugees into Britain as prostitutes. When Rebus takes under his wing a distraught Bosnian call girl, it gives him a personal reason to make sure Telford takes the high road back to Paisley and pronto. Then Rebus's daughter is the victim of an all too professional hit-and-run and Rebus knows that now there is nothing he wouldn't do to bring down prime suspect Tommy Telford - even if it means cutting a deal with the devil.
Ian Rankin - Doors Open
For the right man, all doors are open... Mike Mackenzie is a self-made man with too much time on his hands and a bit of the devil in his soul. He is looking for something to liven up the days and perhaps give new meaning to his existence. A chance encounter at an art auction offers him the opportunity to do just that as he settles on a plot to commit a 'perfect crime'. He intends to rip-off one of the most high-profile targets in the capital - the National Gallery of Scotland. So, together with two close friends from the art world, he devises a plan to a lift some of the most valuable artwork around. But of course, the real trick is to rob the place for all its worth whilst persuading the world that no crime was ever committed. But soon after he enters the dark waters of the criminal underworld he realises that it's very easy to drown...
Iain Pears - An Instance of the Fingerpost
_An Instance of the Fingerpost_ is that rarest of all possible literary beasts - a mystery powered as much by ideas as by suspects, autopsies, and smoking guns. Hefty, intricately plotted, and intellectually ambitious, _Fingerpost_ has drawn the inevitable comparisons to Umberto Eco's _The Name of the Rose_ and, for once, the comparison is apt. The year is 1663, and the setting is Oxford, England, during the height of Restoration political intrigue. When Dr. Robert Grove is found dead in his Oxford room, hands clenched and face frozen in a rictus of pain, all the signs point to poison. Rashomon-like, the narrative circles around Grove's murder as four different characters give their version of events: Marco da Cola, a visiting Italian physician - or so he would like the reader to believe; Jack Prestcott, the son of a traitor who fled the country to avoid execution; Dr. John Wallis, a mathematician and cryptographer with a predilection for conspiracy theories; and Anthony Wood, a mild-mannered Oxford antiquarian whose tale proves to be the book's "instance of the fingerpost". (The quote comes from the philosopher Bacon, who, while asserting that all evidence is ultimately fallible, allows for "one instance of a fingerpost that points in one direction only, and allows of no other possibility".) Like _The Name of the Rose,_ this is one whodunit in which the principal mystery is the nature of truth itself. Along the way, Pears displays a keen eye for period details as diverse as the early days of medicine, the convoluted politics of the English Civil War, and the newfangled fashion for wigs. Yet Pears never loses sight of his characters, who manage to be both utterly authentic denizens of the 17th century and utterly authentic human beings. As a mystery, _An Instance of the Fingerpost_ is entertainment of the most intelligent sort; as a novel of ideas, it proves equally satisfying.
Terry Pratchett - Wintersmith
'Crivens!' Tiffany Aching put one foot wrong, made just one little mistake... And now the spirit of winter is in love with her. He gives her roses and icebergs and showers her with snowflakes, which is tough when you're thirteen, but also just a little bit... cool. If Tiffany doesn't work out how to deal with him, there will never be another springtime... Crackling with energy and humour, Wintersmith is the third tale in a sequence about Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men - the Nac Mac Feegles who are determined to help Tiffany, whether she wants it or not.